SR’s Fab 5 is a collection of inside scoop, analysis and insight from yours truly, PewterReport.com publisher and Bucs beat writer Scott Reynolds. Here are a few things that caught my attention this week at One Buc Place and around the NFL:
FAB 1. BUCS TRYING TO BREAK BREES’ VOODOO SPELL
New Orleans is known for it’s jazz and swing music. So with the Buccaneers traveling to the Big Easy to play the Saints, I thought I would start off today’s SR’s Fab 5 with a tune I came across that has a very fitting title and chorus.
You remind of a man.
Oh, the man with the power.
Oh, the power of voodoo
Oh, you do, you do
You remind of a man.
Yeah, the man with the power.
Yeah, the power of voodoo
Yeah, you do, you do
Uh, we could take ’em out of this rex,
Save us from the man with the hex.
Save us from his evil curse,
It’s gonna get bad, yeah, it’s gonna get worse.
The Man With The Hex – by The Atomic Fireballs.
The man with the hex against the Buccaneers is Saints quarterback Drew Brees, who has complied the second-most wins (12) of any quarterback against Tampa Bay behind only Green Bay’s Brett Favre (16). After compiling a 5-5 record versus Tampa Bay from 2006-10, Brees put a voodoo spell on the Buccaneers and has ripped off a 7-1 record since 2011, including a current seven-game winning streak.
The Saints have swept the Bucs in each of the last three years, including the 2012 season when Sean Payton, New Orleans’ head coach and offensive play-caller, was suspended from the NFL.
There have been games when Brees shreds the Bucs for three and four touchdowns and wins.
Saints QB Drew Brees – Photo by: Getty Images
There have been games when Tampa Bay gets pick-sixes against Brees and he still leads New Orleans to wins.
Brees has won close games, including last year’s 37-31 overtime thriller in the Mercedes-Benz Superdome. He’s also engineered blowout wins over the Bucs.
“Drew Brees gets the ball out quick,” said Bucs defensive end T.J. Fatinikun, who won’t be rushing after Brees on Sunday due to a shoulder injury. “He’s feisty. He’s scrappy. He’s a competitor. You wouldn’t want it any other way, honestly, because that’s who Drew Brees is. But we have the guys that can go hunt him on our side of the ball, and as a collective group that’s what we have to do. We have to do a great job in our rush lanes and get after him.”
You would think that holding Brees to one touchdown and picking him off three times would be a recipe for success, as it was the last time Tampa Bay beat New Orleans in a 26-20 win at Raymond James Stadium in 2011. Yet Brees threw three picks and one touchdown in the season finale at Ray-Jay last year and still led the Saints from a 20-3 halftime deficit to win 23-20 – albeit against Tampa Bay’s junior varsity team.
“We’ve done a good job of getting takeaways from Brees on defense over the last couple of years,” said Bucs wide receiver Russell Shepard, who played collegiately at LSU. “On offense we have to do a good job of not turning the ball over. The big thing for us is our turnover ratio. We want to keep the defense as much in the positive as we can while we execute our game plan, which is to run the ball well and execute our plays on the perimeter when our number is called.”
Here is a look at Brees’ voodoo magic against the Bucs over the past four years:
2011 at Tampa Bay 26-20 LOSS
Brees: 29-of-45 for 383 yards with 1 TD and 3 INTs
2011 vs. Tampa Bay 27-16 WIN
Brees: 27-of-36 for 258 yards with 2 TDs and 1 INT
2012 at Tampa Bay 35-28 WIN
Brees: 27-of-37 for 377 yards with 4 TDs and 1 INT
2012 vs. Tampa Bay 41-0 WIN
Brees: 26-of-39 for 307 yards with 4 TDs and 0 INTs
2013 at Tampa Bay 16-14 WIN
Brees: 26-of-46 for 322 yards with 1 TD and 2 INTs (pick 6)
2013 vs. Tampa Bay 42-17 WIN
Brees: 24-of-31 vs. 381 yards with 4 TDs and 0 INTs
2014 vs. Tampa Bay 37-31 WIN (OT)
Brees: 35-of-57 for 371 yards with 2 TDs and 3 INTs (pick 6)
2014 at Tampa Bay 23-20 WIN
Brees: 24-of-38 for 281 yards with 1 TD and 3 INTs
“Playing those guys close last year tells us that we know what to expect from them,” Fatinikun said. “What we have to do is take what we didn’t do well those last two games and do it well on Sunday. And the things that we did good we have to do them a whole lot better.
“We had them on the ropes up there last time. We just have to do a better job of finishing and a better job of tackling on defense to have a chance, and we need takeaways.”
Saints QB Drew Brees – Photo by: Getty Images
Getting takeaways certainly helps guard against Brees’ voodoo, but it’s not exactly an antidote. The only way to beat Brees and the Saints is to outscore them, whether it’s 21-20 or 38-35. Tampa Bay rookie quarterback Jameis Winston and the offense will have to produce more than the two touchdowns it put up against Tennessee in last week’s 42-14 loss.
“As an offense we have to put up points this week,” Tampa Bay fullback Jorvorskie Lane said. “Our defense has to try to stop Drew Brees, who is playing at a high level. He’s going to get his regardless. On offense, we have to score points – a lot of points. So many points that they can’t come back. We’re playing against Drew Brees, man.”
Bucs tight end Austin Seferian-Jenkins is coming off his best game as a pro, catching five passes for 110 yards and two touchdowns last week against the Titans. Winston will need Seferian-Jenkins and wide receivers Vincent Jackson and Mike Evans, who is expected to play on Sunday after missing Week 1 with a hamstring injury, to step up big time.
“We’re always confident regardless of who we play,” Seferian-Jenkins said. “The Saints are a great team with a great defensive coordinator and great defensive players all over the board. But we have confidence in the guys that we have.
“We came close last year, but the past is the past and we’re not worried about that. We’re worried about what we can control, which is watching film on them in the preseason and from last week against Arizona. We’re not worried about the current standings or records. All we’re worried about is concentrating on getting a W this week.”
Three out of the last four games between the Saints have been decided by a touchdown or less, including last year’s 37-31 loss in overtime in New Orleans after the Bucs built an 11-point lead in the fourth quarter. Does the fact that the Bucs have come close to breaking Brees’ spell give them confidence heading into this Week 2 matchup?
Bucs LB Danny Lansanah – Photo by: Getty Images
“You can look at it that way, but this is a different team,” Bucs defensive end Jacquies Smith said. “This is a different Buccaneers team and Drew Brees has a different Saints team. We have to capitalize on our opportunities when they present themselves on Sunday. It would be big for our football team to get a division win. We need that after last year.”
Brees does have a different supporting cast along the offensive line with Tim Lelito at left guard and Max Unger at center, and also at wide receiver with Brandin Cooks replacing Kenny Stills and Brandon Coleman emerging, and at tight end with Ben Watson replacing Jimmy Graham.
Shepard believes Sunday’s game will go down to the wire like both of last year’s contests did with New Orleans and Tampa Bay looking for their first win of the season.
“Both sides have identified that this is a big division game, a very important game,” Shepard said. “When I first got here, I was told that the Saints vs. Bucs game was a pretty intense game. Just understanding the importance of this game, this game could decide who goes to the playoffs and who doesn’t.”
Statistics say that teams that start the season 0-2 have a very slim chance of making the playoffs. One team will be 1-1 at 4:00 p.m. ET and the other one will be 0-2.
“Last week is behind us with our 24-hour rule,” Shepard said. “But at the same time, we have such a sour taste in everybody’s mouth. To get that out, we have to go on the road and play well against a good team and steal a win. Any time you can steal a win against a division team at their home that’s a big deal. We have to get this taste out of our mouth and get a win.”
Payton acknowledged that the Saints have had the edge over the Bucs, especially in New Orleans.
“Historically, we’ve been good here,” Payton said. “But I would say this: last year, we weren’t. It’s still about playing smart football, taking care of the football, fundamentally doing all the things that keep you from – preventing yourself from doing the things that keep you from winning games.
“In this series, where overtime in the dome and then a last-possession-type game, I mean, in our time here, it’s been a field goal, it’s been a real close-fought series and a close-fought game year-in and year-out, the two of them. Typically in the division, teams have a feel for what they’re going to get when they’re on the road or what it’s going to be like to be at home and I think here’s a game where you have two teams that opened the season with a loss and both will be fighting hard to get their first win.”
And the Bucs will be fighting hard against Brees’ voodoo and trying to break the curse of seven straight defeats.
FAB 2. WINSTON’S OPENING DAY WOES PLACE HIM IN ELITE COMPANY
Buccaneers quarterback Jameis Winston threw a pick-six on his first NFL pass, threw multiple picks in his first game, completed just under half his first pass attempts and lost his NFL debut. Yet Winston is in select company with some of the NFL’s past and present elite quarterbacks.
Give all the credit in the world to Tennessee quarterback Marcus Mariota, whose NFL debut was the best of all-time for a rookie quarterback. Mariota, who was selected second overall behind Winston this year, was 13-of-16 for 209 yards with four touchdowns and no interceptions and a perfect QB rating of 158.3.
Unhappy Bucs fans – Photo by: Getty Images
The fact that Mariota outplayed Winston as the Titans crushed the Bucs, 42-14, has many wondering if Tampa Bay took the right quarterback. One game doesn’t make a season. One game doesn’t define a career.
If so, Dallas’ Troy Aikman, who was the first overall pick in 1989, would never make the Hall of Fame, much less the winner of three Super Bowls in four years. If so, then Peyton Manning, the first overall selection in 1998, would never become a future Hall of Famer and Super Bowl winner himself, as well as the author of several NFL passing records.
Historically, Winston’s sub-par showing in his first NFL regular season game has him in right in line with other quarterbacks that were taken first overall and have gone on to make the Pro Bowl and perhaps win a Super Bowl – or four, in Aikman’s case. Consider that despite having a star wide receiver in Michael Irvin, Aikman went 0-11 as a starter in 1989 with nine touchdowns, 20 interceptions and was shutout three times.
Consider that Manning threw a pick-six in each of his first two games – both of which were losses. So take a look at the start of the careers of the last six really good quarterbacks that were drafted first overall, and feel better about your rookie quarterback, Bucs fans.
1989 Dallas QB Troy Aikman 1 TD and 7 INTs to start the season 0-5
GAME 1: 17-of-35 (48.6 percent) 180 yards, 0 INTs, 2 TDs – 28-0 loss at New Orleans
GAME 2: 13-of-23 (56.5 percent) 241 yards, 1 TD, 2 INTs – 27-21 loss at Atlanta
1993 New England QB Drew Bledsoe 5 TDs and 6 INTs to start the season 1-4
GAME 1: 14-of-30 (46.7 percent) 148 yards, 2 TDs, 1 INT – 38-14 loss at Buffalo
GAME 2: 28-of-49 (57.1 percent) 239 yards, 1 TD, 1 INT – 19-16 loss to Detroit
1998 Indianapolis QB Peyton Manning 3 TDs and 12 INTs to start the season 1-4
GAME 1: 21-of-37 (56.8 percent) 302 yards, 1 TD, 3 INTs – 24-15 loss to Miami
GAME 2: 21-of-33 (63.6 percent) 188 yards, 1 TD, 3 INTs – 29-6 loss at New England
2009 Detroit QB Matt Stafford 3 TDs and 7 INTs to start the season 1-4
GAME 1: 16-of-37 (43.2 percent) 205 yards, 0 TDs, 3 INTs – 45-27 loss at New Orleans
GAME 2: 18-of-30 (60.0 percent) 152 yards, 1 TD, 2 INTs – 27-13 loss to Minnesota
2011 Carolina QB Cam Newton 7 TDs and 6 INTs to start the season 1-4
GAME 1: 24-of-37 (64.8) 422 yards, 2 TDs, 1 INT – 28-21 loss at Arizona
GAME 2: 28-of-46 (60.8) 432 yards, 1 TD, 3 INTs – 30-23 loss to Green Bay
2012 Indianapolis QB Andrew Luck 7 TDs and 7 INTs to start the season 2-3
GAME 1: 23-45 (51.1 percent) 309 yards, 1 TD, 3 INTs – 41-21 loss at Chicago
GAME 2: 20-31 (64.5 percent) 224 yards, 2 TDs, 0 INTs – 23-20 win vs. Minnesota
I didn’t count Indianapolis’ Jeff George (1990), Cleveland’s Tim Couch (1999), Houston’s David Carr (2002), Oakland’s JaMarcus Russell (2007) or St. Louis’ Sam Bradford (2011) because none of those quarterbacks made the Pro Bowl, which is certainly the level of expectation when drafting a quarterback with the first overall pick.
I also did not counting Cincinnati’s Carson Palmer (2003) because he didn’t start his rookie season, nor did I include Atlanta’s Michael Vick (2001) and New York’s Eli Manning (2004) and San Francisco’s Alex Smith (2005) because they didn’t start in Week 1, only saw limited action as a rookie, and didn’t fare well when they did.
The four big takeaways from this analysis are as follows. First, none of the quarterbacks posted a winning record through their first five starts – even Luck, who actually went 11-5 as a rookie and led the Colts to the playoffs. Success rarely comes early for rookie quarterbacks.
Second, only Newton had a positive touchdown-to-interception ratio (7:6) in his first five games. Manning (3:12) and Stafford (3:7) were really upside down in this category through their first five starts.
Former Colts QB Peyton Manning – Photo by: Getty Images
Third, the completion percentage for these six quarterbacks jumped from the first game to the second game by an average of 8.5 percentage points. Only Newton’s completion percentage went down (from 64.8 percent to 60.8 percent). That bodes well for Winston, who completed only 48.5 percent of his throws on Sunday against Tennessee. Based on this statistical analysis if history proves correct and he winds up being an elite quarterback, Winston could expect to see his completion percentage climb to 57 percent on Sunday at New Orleans.
And finally, looking at this statistical sample, the last statistic is a damning one. In analyzing all six of these quarterbacks, all started their careers 0-2 with the exception of Luck, who won his second game in a 23-20 decision over Minnesota.
Don’t be surprised if Winston and the Bucs start the 2015 season 0-2 with a loss at New Orleans on Sunday. History suggests that might happen.
But don’t give up hope on Winston. He has the traits to be a very good quarterback for the Buccaneers – even if he has a historically familiar bad start.
FAB 3. WINSTON’S CONFIDENCE MAY BE HIS GREATEST ATTRIBUTE
All eyes were on Buccaneers quarterback Jameis Winston after his first NFL pass sailed into the arms of Titans cornerback Coty Sensabaugh, who promptly returned the interception for a touchdown to give Tennessee a 14-0 just a few minutes after kicking off the 2015 season opener.
All eyes were on Winston as he tackled linebacker Deiontrez Mount after he threw his second interception on a badly thrown screen pass to Charles Sims.
All eyes were on Winston as he entered the huddle in the fourth quarter down 42-14 and tried to get another touchdown on the board.
The eyes that were on Winston weren’t just the 60,000 fans in the stands – a number that dwindled to 30,000 by the time the fourth quarter rolled around. The most important set of eyes belonged to the 52 other Buccaneers – Winston’s teammates, who were seeing how he was handling the worst case scenario that was unfolding at Raymond James Stadium.
Bucs QB Jameis Winston – Photo by: Getty Images
Winston’s first pass was a nightmare. The fact that his nemesis from college, Titans quarterback Marcus Mariota, was seemingly flawless with four touchdowns and a perfect passer rating was the last thing anyone in Tampa Bay wanted to see. The Bucs’ supposedly improved defense getting shredded by a rookie quarterback was a gut-wrenching affair.
Yet through it all, Winston stood tall and showed plenty of resolve. That’s what his teammates wanted to see – how a quarterback that was 26-1 at Florida State would handle adversity when it came his way. And boy did it ever come Winston’s way on Sunday.
“He’s a very confident guy,” Bucs fullback Jorvorskie Lane said. “We were down big against the Titans and he was still the same upbeat guy. He kept working the sidelines and in the huddle saying, ‘Man, we’ve got to fight! Let’s go! I know we’re still down, but we’ve got to keep fighting! We’ve still got to play!’ That shows me a lot. That’s a real good sign for him and for us.”
Having covered the Buccaneers for 21 years, I’ve seen plenty of young Tampa Bay quarterbacks lose confidence. I’ve seen Trent Dilfer beat himself up so bad after a few horrible games that it would derail his season and ultimately his career in Tampa Bay. I’ve seen Chris Simms get shell-shocked so bad that he never recovered. I’ve seen Josh Freeman’s career get caught in a downward spiral that has the young, 27-year old quarterback out of the league despite having loads of physical talent.
Winston is just one game into his NFL career and we will get a better gauge on where he is by the end of the season and whether or not he has succumbed to the meat grinder in Tampa Bay that has chewed up and spit out so many young quarterbacks. But the resiliency he has shown throughout his career at Florida State and the positive body language he has demonstrated in training camp, the preseason and last Sunday when things haven’t gone his way is quite remarkable.
“I don’t like failure,” Winston said. “So, definitely, that was probably my main [motivation] was watching film that night [until 2:00 a.m.]. I need to watch this to see what happened. Like I always say, you put it behind you. You only can get better from there. One thing about being wise is not only learning from your mistakes, but learning from other peoples’ mistakes. Other people have done that before, so I just have to do my job.”
Winston’s greatest asset may be his unflappable confidence.
Bucs QB Jameis Winston – Photo by: Mark Lomoglio/PR
“Well it’s according to if you’re an optimist or a pessimist,” Bucs head coach Lovie Smith said. “As I see it, he lost – you said one game in college? He’s lost one game in the NFL right now. So he’s got one [in college] and one [in the NFL]. Jameis will be fine. As I talked with Jameis, we got behind big. Of course I talk to all the guys on how they were feeling, especially some of our young players. He said ‘Hey Coach, I’ve been behind a lot of times in college. I just assumed we were going to come back. That was the plan.’
“Again, there’s a lot of football left to go. Don’t tattoo that performance on us. Just wait a little bit to see exactly who we are. Jameis and everybody else – all of us. I say the story will be written a little bit differently than that one.”
Smith isn’t the only coach that has been impressed with Winston’s resolve. New Orleans coach Sean Payton spent a lot of time with Winston leading up to the draft and was enamored with his career at Florida State.
“Having met him at the Combine and then, really, sitting right behind him during his Pro Day, getting a chance to watch him throw, he’s got a great arm. I would say his leadership skills and personality stood out. He’s got a lot of that ‘it factor’ you’re looking for. He’s won a lot of games, even prior to playing at Florida State. So he would probably be in a long line of young quarterbacks in Week 1 that things didn’t go exactly how he wanted them, and yet he’s got that resiliency and toughness to him that’s the right fit for his team. But having had a chance to watch the film, there are a handful of things that come up and typically more credit or blame oftentimes falls on that position, but I’m a big fan of [Winston’s] throughout the process of seeing him.”
Tampa Bay wide receiver Russell Shepard was in the huddle with Winston in the fourth quarter and saw the same guy with the same demeanor as the rookie quarterback was in the first quarter when the score was only 7-0.
Bucs QB Jameis Winston – Photo by: Getty Images
“That just shows you what makes him unique,” Shepard said. “The guy is a competitor. He’s not gun-shy. He’s not verbally shy. He’s going to lead his group of guys until the end. That’s a very positive note I personally took from the game, seeing him in action staying positive with his teammates. I want to go out here and help him get a win and get this organization back to the glory days.”
Winston was a winner at Florida State, authoring a 26-game winning streak coupled with a national championship and a Heisman Trophy. The kid has a winner’s mentality and that’s why the Bucs spent the first overall draft choice on him. Winston’s competitive nature will ultimately drive Tampa Bay to more wins as he gains NFL experience and receives better play around him.
“That’s where the saying comes in, ‘You win some, you lose some,’” Winston said. “At the end of the day, I know I’m a competitor, so I don’t focus on any of the negatives or the losing for that matter. My main goal is to make it to the next day. As long as we live to fight another day, to keep competing, I’ll never give up. I have great teammates here, I had great teammates at Florida State, so what we’re going to do is keep competing and keep getting better. It’s going to change.”
FAB 4. TAMPA BAY TRIED HARD TO GET SMITH
Buccaneers general manager Jason Licht has taken some heat from Tampa Bay fans about not adequately addressing the team’s pass rush by landing a proven veteran. But it hasn’t been due to a lack of effort.
Licht had a personnel relationship with former Eagles pass rusher Trent Cole dating back to their days together in Philadelphia, but at age 32, Cole wanted the chance to win a Super Bowl and opted to sign with Indianapolis instead of Tampa Bay. Licht and director of football administration Mike Greenberg really opened up the Bucs’ checkbook, too.
Titans OLB Derrick Morgan – Photo by: Cliff Welch/PR
Tampa Bay brought in Tennessee’s 3-4 outside linebacker Derrick Morgan, who had two sacks against the Bucs on Sunday, for a free agent visit this offseason. But Morgan clearly wanted to stay with the Titans, who had just brought in Dick LeBeau to help out on defense during the offseason, and it became clear he was using the Bucs for leverage in contract talks with general manager Ruston Webster.
The Bucs tried hard to land former Carolina defensive end Greg Hardy in free agency, but despite opening up the Glazers’ vault, Hardy opted to sign with Dallas. Regardless of how bad Tampa Bay wanted Hardy, he wanted to be a Cowboy, illustrating that free agency is definitely a two-way street.
Without many viable options in the draft with a week class of pass rushers, Licht traded for Detroit defensive end George Johnson, who had his first six sacks with the Lions last year. After roster cut-downs, Licht scooped up former Houston Texans 3-4 outside linebacker Kourtnei Brown, who had three sacks in the preseason.
Still, that wasn’t good enough for some Bucs fans who don’t understand that this team had a lot of needs coming off a dismal 2-14 campaign – so many that it would take more than offseason to fill them all. The Bucs definitely needed a franchise quarterback and some new offensive linemen to protect him, so that’s where Licht went with the team’s first three picks, drafting Jameis Winston, Donovan Smith and Ali Marpet.
But Licht still wasn’t done trying to upgrade the team’s pass rush. Behind the scenes he went hard after former San Francisco 3-4 outside linebacker Aldon Smith, offering up a more lucrative deal than he ultimately agreed to with Oakland. Smith, who is seeking treatment for an alcohol problem that has led to his arrest on multiple occasions, was released by San Francisco this summer.
Ex-49ers OLB Aldon Smith – Photo by: Getty Images
Cole’s last-ditch effort at a Super Bowl ring was worth more than the money the Bucs were throwing at him. The same could be said of Morgan wanting to remain a Titan, and Hardy’s desire to play for the Cowboys, a team he’s rooted for since his childhood.
With Smith, a Pro Bowler with 44 career sacks, he has a child on the West Coast he did not want to leave and he also likes the treatment facility he is currently enrolled in and did not want to move across the country, according to sources close to Smith. Staying in the Bay Area in California made the most sense for him at this stage in his life – no matter how much more money the Bucs were offering.
Sometimes money doesn’t talk in free agency. Sometimes a player’s personal desire trumps a big pay day – even when a team like Tampa Bay is willing to pay handsomely – and perhaps overpay – due to the big need for a pass rusher.
Licht may not have been able to reel in a proven pass rusher this offseason due to circumstances beyond his control, but it certainly wasn’t for a lack of effort. You can bet he’ll continue his hard push to find a proven pass rusher for the Buccaneers through the trading deadline this year and free agency and the draft next year.
FAB 5. SR’s BUC SHOTS
• Speaking of defensive ends, two of college football’s best pass rushers, Tennessee’s outside linebacker Curt Maggitt, and Auburn end Carl Lawson are both dealing with early-season hip injuries. Both Maggitt, a senior, and Lawson, a redshirt sophomore, have garnered some possible early round consideration in next year’s draft.
Maggitt chipped a bone in his hip against Oklahoma and may be sidelined for the season. There is talk about a medical redshirt for him that would allow Maggitt to get a sixth year of eligibility at Tennessee. Lawson is on crutches with a hip flexor injury that could cause him to miss this Saturday’s game against LSU. Lawson, who missed the 2014 season with a knee injury, is expected to return later this year.
• For some reason, Bucs fans are riled up about second-year tight end Austin Seferian-Jenkins high-stepping into the end zone after his 41-yard touchdown in the fourth quarter made the score 42-14 with a victory still firmly in the grasp of the Titans. Hey, Seferian-Jenkins was having a career day with five catches for 110 yards and two touchdowns and wanted to have a little fun. There’s nothing wrong with that.
Bucs TE Austin Seferian-Jenkins – Photo by: Cliff Welch/PR
For those Bucs fans that constantly harp on the NFL being the “No Fun League,” why not let Seferian-Jenkins do a little celebrating? What should he have done? Mope into the end zone with his head down instead and be ashamed for scoring a touchdown? I don’t understand the backlash against a young player that is an emerging star on Tampa Bay’s offense.
At least Seferian-Jenkins didn’t strike another Captain Morgan pose and use the ball as a prop like he did last year against Atlanta, which drew a 15-yard unsportsmanlike conduct penalty. In fact, Seferian-Jenkins did a real classy thing and gave the ball from his first touchdown catch in the second quarter to rookie quarterback Jameis Winston.
“That first touchdown pass, that was important, special, for what me and him have been doing – working in the offseason,” Seferian-Jenkins said. “Kind of a token of hard work.”
• Bucs linebacker Lavonte David revealed that Major Wright’s 15-yard penalty on a big hit on Titans running back Bishop Sankey drained Tampa Bay’s momentum. On his Bucs Total Access radio show on Tampa Bay’s flagship station, WDAE 620 AM, David said that flag affected how the Bucs played on Tennessee’s opening touchdown drive and throughout the game.
“We played a little passive after that first play,” David said. “I think after that penalty, it kind of killed our momentum. Because we wanted to come out and be physical and that was the statement of the game there – Major coming out being physical. After that happened he got the flag, we were like, ‘Oh, man. We can’t come out and do what we wanted to do.’
“We kind of let that get to us a little bit. We can’t let that affect us. Every time we’re on the field, we’ve got to be the most dominating. Be the most physical. Obviously, that wasn’t the case.”
That’s kind of a shocking admission. I love David and have a great deal of respect for him, but it was clear that play affected him because he played the most passive game I’ve seen him play in quite some time, finishing with just five tackles and a forced fumble.
“It doesn’t do any good to talk about an official’s call, unless it’s changed – something that happened during the course of the game,” Bucs head coach We had other opportunities. That was a good opportunity to get momentum, but we could have gotten momentum the next play. That’s about all I can say about that.”
David and some of his defensive teammates need to be professionals and show more mental toughness and resolve if one penalty truly deflated the defense.
“Whenever you have a big play that turns into a negative play for your defense and keeps a drive going, that’s not good,” Bucs safety Chris Conte said. “Whenever you can’t get off the field and they score a touchdown on that drive, obviously it made a difference. A play happens and you have to move on. Obviously, it was a big play and a momentum swing, but you have to move on to the next play.”
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DraftKings also has a FREE fantasy football contest, and some contests that cost just $0.25 to enter, while others cost $10 or less. The best part about playing with Draft Kings is that you can re-draft your fantasy football team each week. There is no season-long commitment, which helps you avoid injuries and dealing with draft day busts.
Bucs fans can play fantasy football on desktops, tablets and mobile devices, and there are Draft Kings aps for Android and Apple iOS phones and tablets.
• And finally, I would like to welcome Dr. Jason Hunt of Kaisen Orthopedics to PewterReport.com. Dr. Hunt is an orthopedic surgeon and a big Bucs fan, and will be doing some sports medicine blogs for PewterReport.com that will offer his professional opinion and insight on some of the injuries affecting the Bucs players. Look for his first blog next week on PewterReport.com.
Are you a weekend warrior dealing with knee, hip, shoulder or joint pain? Do you have a child that has suffered an injury playing youth sports? Call Dr. Hunt for an examination and a consultation at (813) 694-0449 or for more information, visit Kaizen Orthopedics online at KaizenOrtho.com.
Scott Reynolds is in his 25th year of covering the Tampa Bay Buccaneers as the vice president, publisher and senior Bucs beat writer for PewterReport.com. Author of the popular SR's Fab 5 column on Fridays, Reynolds oversees web development and forges marketing partnerships for PewterReport.com in addition to his editorial duties. A graduate of Kansas State University in 1995, Reynolds spent six years giving back to the community as the defensive line coach for his sons' Pop Warner team, the South Pasco Predators. Reynolds can be reached at: email@example.com
PewterReport.com prides itself on being the most complete, comprehensive news source covering the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and delivering inside scoop on the team found nowhere else.